No matter where you are in your career journey—first-time jobseeker or a mid-career professional making a switch to a new field—interviews can make you feel nervous, anxious, and overwhelmed. While it’s perfectly normal to feel this way, the good news is that acing an interview is not tough if you’re well prepared for it.
Before you apply for a job, take time to assess your skills by closely studying the job description. A cover letter which summarises what you can bring to the company to successfully execute the job requirement will increase your chances of being shortlisted. Reaching out to your network of professionals will help you in getting that interview call. Building a professional network will assist you in going a long way in opening future career options. While strong skills and the knowledge you already possess will help you answer the technical questions, the STAR method is a structured manner of responding to behavioural-based interview questions (like ‘what is the most challenging situation you have faced/solved?’) by discussing the specific Situation, Task, Action, and Result of the scenario you are describing.
A springboard to success in a career starts with building strong skills. Skills can be built by putting all the effort that is required to do the job, plus the extra effort that is needed to build additional as well as future skills. While building skills, remember the 10,000 hour rule (propounded by Malcolm Gladwell in his book “Outliers”) which states that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery of a skill. While some skills might need only 5000 hours to achieve mastery, the important thing is to be at it.
“Being at it” is the attitude one should have in order to succeed. Sticking solely to the job at hand with the minimum required skills will limit your growth and push you further into your ‘comfort zone’. This is detrimental to skill enhancement and career growth. A career professional should consciously develop the Growth Mindset: the innate urge to learn and challenge oneself to achieve not just what is needed for the job, but to do more than that. One can develop this mindset by having the determination to achieve a goal despite the difficulties or failures one faces. Having a growth mindset is willing to fail and then starting over again keeping in mind the lessons learnt. Growth mindset is knowing that failure is not a permanent condition. Always look forward to challenges and accept negative feedback in the spirit of learning to grow. One should see every effort put in as the path to mastery, for mastery is the key to success.